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Georgian-Azerbaijani Border Commission Meets in Baku, Agrees on Expert Visits

Georgian-Azerbaijani commission, tasked with border delimitation between the two countries, met on May 23-24 in Baku. The delegations were chaired by the Deputy Foreign Ministers of Georgia and Azerbaijan, Lasha Darsalia and Khalaf Khalafov, respectively.

According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, the commission had “a detailed discussion” on non-agreed sections of the inter-state border. “The sides agreed to hold joint visits to non-agreed sections, at the level of experts. They also agreed to examine and assess respective cartographic materials and normative and legal documents pertaining to border delimitation,” it said.

The Foreign Ministry also reported that the next commission meeting will be convened in Tbilisi, and that the date will be communicated through diplomatic channels.

In his press remarks on May 25, Deputy FM Lasha Darsalia said he hopes the expert visits would help the commission arrive at “a decision favorable and acceptable for both sides.”

Darsalia also touched upon the road construction works near the disputed section at the David Gareji Monastery, launched by the Azerbaijanis shortly before the commission meeting.

The Deputy FM stressed that although the works were carried out on the Azerbaijani side, the Georgian delegation still “requested full information” about the ongoing works from their counterparts.

“We also noted that it is desirable and important to refrain from steps that might create a perception that the status quo is being changed in any form,” he said, adding that the works are suspended as of today.

“We consider that [these issues] – be it related to mobility [in the monastic complex] or engineering works, including on the Azerbaijani-controlled territory, should not be carried out before the negotiations process is over,” Darsalia also noted.

David Gareji, a medieval monastic complex located about 70 kilometers southeast of Tbilisi, has been one of the major stumbling blocks in the Georgian-Azerbaijani border talks.

Lack of agreement on where the border between the two countries passes came into a sharp focus in the end of April, when Azerbaijani border guards restricted access to parts of David Gareji Monastery. Although the restrictions were soon lifted, activists and local residents, as well as some nationalists have rallied, claiming Georgia’s rights to the disputed section.

For more background, follow our tag on David Gareji.

This post is also available in: Georgian Russian

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